Nune Vankai / vankaya is a very popular Andhra dish. It also goes by the name 'Bagara Baingan' in gravy style, a nice side dish to accompany pulaos, fried rice or biryanis.
This is also one of the recipes which doesn't stick to one particular style all the time. It varies on the different spices used.
It also can be made with peanuts and cashew nuts to get the more shahi flavor.
I have blogged a stuffed eggplant recipe with peanut stuffing before, and so I wanted a different recipe this time around!
I like my brinjal curry to be of a more drier variety so I didn't leave much gravy. But you surely can add gravy to this dish, by adding more chopped onions, tomatoes and yogurt to the pan before adding the stuffed eggplant. This way the eggplant will get cooked in the gravy it self. I will post a picture of this when I make it! :))
Adding peanuts surely gives it a unique taste, but adding all the roasted daals also imparts and delicious flavor.
First all the below ingredients need to be dry roasted and ground with the sauted onions and tomatoes to make the stuffing. This is then stuffed into the cut eggplant and cooked on a low flame to get even cooking on the baby brinjals.
If you think you made more stuffing than you need, you can always store it in the freezer for the next use.
15-20 baby eggplants / brinjals / vankai / vankaya, washed and cut in a + shape from the other side, not cutting all the way thru.
For dry roasting:
1/4 cup channa daal, urad daal
1/4 tsp black pepper,
1/2 tsp methi seeds
2 tsp daniya seeds
1 tsp jeera
1 tsp poppy seeds
6-8 red chillies
2 inch pieces cinamon stick
1/2 cup coconut (add towards the end)
Sauteed in 1 tsp oil and to be ground along with spices:
1 large onion
1 large tomato
4 green chillies
bunch of curry leaves
2 tbsp ginger garlic paste
1 tsp chilli powder
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 lemon size ball of tamarind
salt to taste
1 tbsp of oil
some water if required
chopped coriander leaves for garnish
Dry roast all the whole spices and keep aside to cool.
In about 1 tsp of oil, saute the onion and tomato till they are cooked. Add the ginger-garlic paste, green chillies, curry leaves, chilli powder, turmeric and tamarind and saute for couple minutes more. Add salt. Remove from heat and let cool.
When cool, grind all the spices and the onion-tomato mixture, with little or no water, to a thick paste. Check for salt now, and add more if required.
Stuff this into the cut baby eggplants.
Heat about a tbsp of oil in a pan and add these stuffed brinjals. Cover and cook on medium to low heat turning from time to time. Sprinkle a few drops of water if required.
(If making gravy style, Before adding the eggplants, add some more chopped onions and tomatoes, let them cook and add beaten yogurt. When this slightly thickens, add the stuffed eggplants, and let them cook in the gravy)
Serve hot with biryanis, fried rice, pulao or just rice. It also goes good with naan, roti or chapathi. Enjoy!!!